PDP Campaign Fund: EFCC Seeks Transfer of Shekarau’s Trial Outside Kano
Following the commotion that attended the arraignment of a former governor of Kano State Malam Ibrahim Shekarau at the Federal High Court Kano, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has approached the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to transfer the matter to another jurisdiction of the Court. Counsel to EFCC Johnson Ojogbane disclosed this today at the resumed hearing of the case.
Ojogbane informed the court that the prosecution had applied to the Chief Judge for the matter to be transferred to another jurisdiction. The defendants also through their counsels told the court that they have responded to the prosecution application, urging the Chief Judge to refuse the application of the prosecution and allow the trial to continue in Kano. Both parties are now waiting for the decision of the Chief Judge.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel requested for an adjournment pending the Chief Judge’s decision to either transfer or allow the matter to continue in Kano.
Justice Abubakar granted the prayer of the prosecution and adjourned the matter to October 18th for hearing in the event the application for transfer is refused. However, if the Chief Judge grant the application, the case would start de novo in another jurisdiction.
Shekarau was arraigned alongside two others, Aminu Bashir Wali and Mansur Ahmed before Justice Zainab Bage Abubakar of the Federal High Court sitting in Kano on the 24th of May, 2018 on a six count charge of Conspiracy and Money Laundering to the tune of N950,000,000 (Nine Hundred and Fifty Million Naira Only).
In another development, prosecution witness, Abu Sule, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that Ikedi Ohakim, a former governor of Imo State, gave him $2.2 million cash, which he used to purchase a property located at No. 60, Kwame Nkrumah Street, Asokoro, Abuja.
Ohakim, is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N270 million.
He was initially arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on July 8, 2015. However, with the compulsory retirement of Justice Ademola, by the National Judicial Council, NJC, the case started de novo before Justice Babatunde Quadri.
Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Festus Ukpe, Sule, an Architect and Managing Director, Tweenex Consociate HD Ltd, who is testifying as the first prosecution witness, on June 25, 2018 told the court that Ohakim after much pressure was able to convince him to buy the property in his own name after giving him the sum of $2.2 million in cash.
He said: “The defendant, in 2012, requested me to find a house for him to buy and I eventually got one at No. 60, Kwame Nkrumah Street, Asokoro, Abuja.
“He trusted my judgement on the house for purchase and the property was valued at $2.2 million which was about N270 million as at that time.
“He brought the money in dollars. He said that I should go and pay for the house.
“The following day, I called the owner of the house, one Alhaji Isah Maidabino, and we met at Bank of the North, Maitama.
“Maidabino collected the money and he gave me the original title documents.
“I informed Ohakim and he told us the name we should use in the Deed of Assignment and sales agreement”.
The witness added that the defendant asked him to rent out the said property to him and issued him three cheques totalling N20million, further instructing him to renovate the property, adding that an offer letter was consequently issued to him with a rent agreement to seal the fictitious transaction.
At the resumed sitting today, June 26, 2018, under cross–examination by counsel to the defence, Awa Kalu, SAN, Sule reaffirmed his relationship with Ohakim, even though he told the court that the defendant has no relationship with the former owner of the property (Isa Maidabino) who purportedly sold the property in question to him.
Sule also reaffirmed that “the said money was paid to Maidabino in cash at the premises of the Bank of the North (now Unity Bank) in the waiting room of the manager”.
He further told the court that there was no document issued to him concerning receipt of the cash, neither was there any documentation regarding the cash transaction that took place that day. He further confirmed his volunteered statement with the EFCC when he was confronted with a copy of it by the defence counsel.
He was also confronted with a copy of the receipt for the purchase of the property which had been marked as “Exhibit B”, with a face value of N270m and was asked if the amount was in United States dollar, as to his earlier claim that $2.2m cash was given to him by the defendant for the purchase of the said property.
“No,” he answered, and admitted that he did not know the source of the money.
The case has been adjourned to October 30 and 31, 2018 for continuation of trial.
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